Raymond Depardon is a French photographer, journalist and documentary film maker. Although he has covered the news from all over the world for Gamma Agency (which he created in 1966) and for Magnum, his real passion is for rural France where he originates from.
Towards the end of his career, Depardon has allowed himself to explore this part of his identity
Here are some elements of his work that are particularly relevant to understand what rurality means to the French people, how it is tied in their identity.
La Ferme du Garet
Depardon was born at the Garet Farm. He tells this story in a book “La Ferme du Garet” and in a play.
Later he will also include elements from the Garet into his long format piece about French Peasants, Profils Paysans.
Peasant Profiles (Profils Paysans)
Here is the trailer of the last part, The Modern Life (Trailer with subtitles)
“Depardon is above all things a cine-portraitist: with his long interviews from fixed camera positions – he calls out his questions from behind the camera, a little like Errol Morris – Modern Life is an extrapolation of still photography. The faces he records are wonderful.”
From the Guardian’s revie. Peter Bradshaw. April 3 2009 : http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/apr/03/modern-life-film-review @peterbradshaw1
La France – 800 photos
During 5 years, Depardon travelled 70 000 km accross France in a van. He took pictures of simple things, of rural France, of small provincial town.
At the end of the project, 800 pictures were selected for an exhibition French National Library (BNF) and a book.
Here are some examples of his pictures:
Depardon explains his work (in French):
Essentially he says that he wants to encourage people to visit France. People only know where they are born, where they work, where they go on vacation and where their partner comes from. That’s only 4 different places but France has much more to offer.
In 2013, he and his wife Claudine Nougaret put together a movie, Journal de France, which shows how the photographer went about this adventure. Here is an extract (with subtitiles) of the movie: